Gladstone, MI – June 5th, 2019 – It was time for the Regional Semifinal baseball game between the Negaunee Miners and the Gladstone Braves Wednesday evening, and the weather couldn’t have been more picturesque for a U.P. Spring.
Even though the game was taking place in Gladstone, the Negaunee Miners elected to be the home team thanks to a coin flip. Tanner Peterson started on the mound for Negaunee, but Carson Shea was able to eek out an infield single to give the Braves a runner after the first batter of the game. After working the second batter to a full count, Jason Waterman got under a fly ball for out number one. Shea stole second base, but Gladstone then attempted a bunt for the second out. Another fly ball gave Negaunee out number three to end their side of the inning. Carson Shea held the mound for Gladstone, and he retired the first batter after two quick strikes and an easy ground ball. Logan Fish was able to put the ball into play, and he reached first base for Negaunee’s first runner. A pop fly to right field was the Miners’ second out of the first inning, and the runner failed to advance due to where the ball was caught in the outfield. Another easy ground ball was all Gladstone needed to retire Negaunee’s side, and the first inning ended scoreless.
Cooper Cavadaes of the Braves started off the second inning with a bang when he nailed a triple to the outfield wall, giving them a runner in great scoring position with no outs. Jared Crow put up the first run of the game when he smacked a single to the short outfield, making it 1-0 for Gladstone. A ground ball gave the Negaunee Miners their first out of the inning when they got the force out at second. There was one away and a runner on first base, but Caden Alworden successfully moved to second on a stolen base. Drake Forest was the second out of the side for Gladstone when Peterson fooled him on a wicked curve ball. The braves added a run to their lead off of a single that was hit right up the middle and drove the runner across home plate. Shea RBI’d for the Braves’ third run of the game, and the inning was in danger of slipping away from the Miners. An error from the Miners’ outfield put run number four on the board for Gladstone, but the side ended when Gladstone grounded out to the Negaunee infield for an easy third out. The Miners’ first batter of the inning was Adam Ogea, but he unfortunately fell to strikes after a lengthy battle at the plate. A quick second out was issued to Negaunee on a high fly ball almost right to the Gladstone third baseman. The final out of the second inning came when Gerald Johnson unfortunately fell to strikes on what appeared to be a very poorly called third strike.
The Gladstone Braves were once again up at the plate, but unlike the last inning, the Negaunee Miners’ first out came very quickly when Jason Waterman got under a pop up in the outfield. Out number two of the top of the inning came on a beautiful strike out after a controversial call. A slow hit to third base was easily tossed over to first for the final out of the top of the third inning, keeping the score at 4-0. Time was running short for the Negaunee Miners as they took to the batters’ box, but it was a one-pitch-one-out line drive to the Braves’ shortstop. Waterman singled to left field, but unfortunately, the Miners ended up giving up a double play to end the third inning.
Jared Crow hit a lead-off double for the Gladstone Braves, immediately giving them a runner in scoring position. A lazy blooping single fell short in the outfield, and that put runners on first and second for the Braves. Drake Forest was up to the plate next, and he successfully bunted to move the runners over to second and third, but he was thrown out at first. The score became 5-0 when a hard hit single made it to the outfield grass, but out number two was put in the books when Anderson caught the runner going for second base. Carson Shea drew a walk, putting runners on the corners with two away. A scary moment happened when Ogea was the victim of a very strange bounce from a ground ball appeared to hit him in the face. Luckily, he was okay and stayed in the game, but Gladstone scored a sixth run. Later, an amazing diving stop from Logan Fish at
second base was out number three of the side. Fish kept the action going for the Negaunee Miners as he took to the batters’ box first in the bottom of the fourth. He hit a hard ground ball towards the gap, but the Braves’ shortstop grabbed it and made a nice throw for the first out of the side. After another fast out, Negaunee’s Munson was issued a free pass to first on a walk. He then stole second base and almost made it to third on a wild pick attempt. Unfortunately, another beautiful pitch from the Braves’ caught Ogea looking for out number three of the side.
It was another fast start to the fifth inning as the Gladstone Braves quickly got a runner on first, but an infield fly gave the Negaunee Miners and equally fast first out. A fielder’s choice ground ball was out number two of the inning, but Gladstone still had a man on base, preventing the Miners from being able to relax. Another infield fly to Peterson was all the Miners needed to retire the top of the fifth and hopefully get some runs during their at bat. Jadan Grobar started off the Miners’ side with a bang when he singled, and that was followed by another single from Gerald Johnson, putting runners on first and second. The Braves continued to play well, and they made issued back to back outs to put a damper on the Miners’ hopes. One more speedy out truly ended the hopes for Negaunee in the fifth inning.
12 outs remained in the game, and the Braves held a 6-0 lead over the Negaunee Miners. Drake Forest fell to strikes for out number one of inning six. Cole Hansen was up to the plate next, but he grounded out to the infield for the second out of the side. A sharp ground ball hit to third base was the third out of the side after Grobar made a fantastic catch at the base. Negaunee was down to six outs, but Carson Shea from the Braves used his lightning like reflexes to stop a ball hit up the middle. Another infield ground ball was hit over to third, putting out number two onto the scoreboard. A final slow ground ball was all the Braves needed to quickly put the sixth inning into the scorebook.
Each team was down to their final outs, and the Negaunee Miners sought to limit any damage as the Braves took to the plate. A pop fly was caught by Jadan Grobar for the first out, but then Tanner Peterson had to be replaced as pitcher due to his high pitch count, replaced by Alex Zampese. Out number two came very quickly as a ground ball was hit to Negaunee’s infield, and that brought Cody Frappier who was hit by a pitch. With one runner on the bases, Gladstone’s catcher, Cooper Cavadaes, stepped up the plate. Third baseman Adam Ogea caught a fly ball to end the side, and give Negaunee one last shot at continuing in the playoffs. Alex Munson stepped into the batters’ box first for the Miners, but Drake Forrest made a fantastic catch in the outfield for out number one. Gladstone then had to replace their pitcher due to his high pitch count with two outs left in the game. After a lengthy at-bat, Adam Ogea was retired on strikes on another questionable strike for out number two. Negaunee’s hopes rode on keeping a single out going, but they never gave up. Jadan Grobar kept playing well, and he drew a walk to put a runner on first with two away. Gerald Johnson took to the plate for Negaunee, and he went to a full count before drawing a walk which put runners on first and second. Alex Zampese was then called to the plate for the Miners, and he made it over to first on the third straight walk issued by Forrest. Gladstone then decided to replace their pitcher with Zach Hanson, hoping he could get the final out of the game. Waterman was down to his last strike, but he hung tight and took Hanson to a full count before being called out on strikes to end the game.